Yesterday, while Clare did some errands, I spent the morning updating various computers at home, knowing how much machine minding this would entail after nearly two months away. In the afternoon we went to friend Andrea's seventieth birthday party at her chalet down on the Lavernock Point holiday park. It took us ages to find the place as I made a directional error when we arrived in nearby Penarth, so we ended up visiting and enquiring after her on two other sites before finding the right one. Fortunately the weather was good, so wandering through the lanes of coastal South Glamorgan was not unpleasant, even if slightly annoying.
This morning, we woke up early, before the alarms went off, and after breakfast Clare drove me to Cardiff Central station for a seven thirty train to Bristol. The 'Bristol Flyer' airport bus connection came within five minutes and in a surprisingly uncongested rush hour run, we arrived in twenty minutes. By ten to nine I'd cleared security and was dozing in the departure lounge until the Barcelona flight was called. This took off punctually and arrived five minutes early, giving me enough time to get from the arrival area in Terminal 2 sector B to the RENFE station - a fifteen minute brisk walk. With only hand luggage, there was no delay, and this was essential given my plan to catch a three o'clock from Barcelona Sants station. I still had a twenty minute wait, and the train was packed when it pulled out, making me more than glad I wasn't pulling a case through the crowd when I got off the train.
With some trial and error I found correct the 'book on the day' ticket booths (#25-30). Only 'Preferente' tickets were left (1st class), and rather than wait several hours for a train with 'Turista' seats available, I upgraded my 14 euro ticket for another 20 euros. The total round trip for a trip equivalent to the Bristol-London journey still only cost a total 48 euros. You'd be lucky to get an equivalent second class single trip for that amount of money on British Rail. It was well worth it. The seating is comfortable and not cramped, the trains are smooth and swift, stopping three times before reaching Vinaròs in one hour and fifty minutes. This was a real treat to conclude my long weekend at home.
Michael picked me up at the station and handed back my keys, reporting that Fr Hywel had got away early this morning, and would be in the air on the way back to Cardiff as we spoke. Then I received a text message from Kath to say she'd was on her way home following their flight home from Alicante. We must have been in the air at the same time.
Now all that remains is to get acclimatised again - I had to wear a pullover for half a day when I got back home, while I adjusted to the change in temperature and humidity. It didn't take me long to weary of slate grey skies however, so it's great to be back under blue skies again.